If there were a dominant theme to riff about, we'd roll it out there. Instead, you get bullets fired in all directions.
• No one wanted to go near Jarrod Washburn(notes) or Rich Hill(notes) before the season, but these two lefties on the rebound hooked up in a tidy two-hour pitcher's duel at Seattle on Monday. Washburn left after seven innings, allowing just one run over six hits, but Hill was even better, throwing up seven bagels and striking out seven en route to his second win of the year. I'll sign off on both of these guys when they return for the weekend; Hill pitches at Oakland, while Washburn has a home date with Minnesota.
• Chad Qualls(notes) is dealing with a sore forearm and hasn't pitched for the last four days, though the Snakes are hoping he can get back for Tuesday's second game in LA. Tony Pena(notes) stood in as the closer Monday and it was a rocky road (three hits, two unearned runs), but eventually he shut the door, retiring Mark Loretta(notes) with two men on to end it. I'm not ready to invest in Billy Buckner(notes), but he has given Arizona two good starts out of three; he shut down the Dodgers over six innings Monday.
• There isn't any structural damage in Grady Sizemore's(notes) inflamed left elbow, but that doesn't mean he's out of the woods yet. Cleveland athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff told MLB.com that there's still a possibility Sizemore will need arthroscopic surgery done on the elbow; if the procedure takes place, you can push Sizemore's return back another 4-6 weeks.
• You'd like to see more power from Andy LaRoche(notes), but otherwise this looks like another post-hype sleeper makes good. Kid LaRoche rapped out two hits and knocked in three Monday as the Bucs snuck past the Mets, and for the year he's carrying a solid .304/.374/.435 line. Eventually some of those doubles (13) are likely to turn into homers (just two).
• The Mets looked to be in control of Monday's game at Pittsburgh until the eighth inning rolled around. Pedro Feliciano(notes) allowed the first baserunner but ultimately it was J.J. Putz(notes) that lit the flames (4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, no outs recorded). New York thought it had a lockdown set-up man when it brought Putz in last winter, but he's been a mess for most of the season (4.76 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 19 BB against 19 K). At the end of the day this is another cautionary tale for us about chasing set-up men too aggressively; while Putz does have a win and two saves as K-Rod's caddy, the rest of his toxic line isn't worth it.
Not an Injury Blog: So much for Edinson Volquez's(notes) return to the rotation; he worked just one inning at St. Louis before finger numbness sent him to the sidelines. … Victor Martinez(notes) (knee) dressed as Cleveland's DH Monday and had a solo homer in four trips. … Mike Cameron(notes) left in the sixth inning with a sore knee. … Rafael Furcal(notes) (back) didn't start Monday but was healthy enough to enter the game and take a couple of at-bats (two singles). Look for him to start Tuesday. … Casey Blake(notes) (hamstring) missed another game Monday but should be back for Tuesday's contest. … Willy Taveras(notes) (hamstring) has missed three straight games but has a shot to play Tuesday. … Gary Sheffield(notes) is dealing with a sore hamstring but plans to play through it; he was in right field for the Mets Monday. … Chris Getz(notes) has a sore ankle, which means we'll see Jayson Nix(notes) this week.
Handshakes: Mariano Rivera(notes) needed just 13 pitches to put down the Indians 1-2-3. His WHIP is down to 1.02 for the year. … Francisco Cordero(notes) had fantasy owners plenty nervous in March, but he's 14-for-14 in the real games after stopping St. Louis on Monday. … George Sherrill(notes) worked a perfect inning at Seattle and keeps extending the leash (keep in mind Chris Ray(notes) is in the minors). … You know it's a good night for closers when Brad Lidge(notes) works a perfect inning; he's now got five clean outings in a row since his May 24 blowup. … LaTroy Hawkins(notes) hasn't been intimidated by the ninth inning in Houston, rolling up seven quick saves. … Matt Lindstrom(notes) had his good stuff, striking out two and retiring three of the four men he faced against Milwaukee. … Matt Capps(notes) put down three of four Mets en route to save No. 11.
Speed Round: Two more hits and another homer for Scott Hairston(notes) (batting behind Adrian Gonzalez(notes)), while his brother Jerry didn't start for the Reds. … Joba Chamberlain(notes) kept the walks down (just two) and worked eight sterling innings at Cleveland (4 H, 2 R, 5 K). We get a tasty matchup between Chamberlain and Matt Garza(notes) on the weekend. … Garrett Atkins(notes) reached base twice for the Rockies, if you're looking for signs of life there. Jim Tracy gave Atkins an emphatic vote of confidence over the weekend, and plans to hit him in the cleanup spot for an extended period of time. … Alexei Ramirez(notes) might not fit the exact profile of a No. 2 batter, but he's been productive there (14-for-43, four walks, two steals). … Antonio Bastardo(notes) will get a shot in the Philadelphia rotation, getting recalled in time for Tuesday's tough assignment opposite Jake Peavy(notes). The intriguing lefty has been sharp over two levels in the minors this year, racking up 51 strikeouts against just 10 walks over 47.2 innings. At minimum, let's put an eye on his first turn and see how he does.